Paleontology: Theropod Dinosaurs and the origin of Birds - University of Alberta

Learn about the theropod saga that spans over 200 million years of evolution and includes the largest carnivores to ever walk the earth, but also the smallest vertebrates to ever fly.


In this 5-lesson MOOC, students enter the world of dinosaurs. For over 160 million years, dinosaurs ruled the world, and dinosaurs in their turn, were ruled by the theropods. Theropod dinosaurs include some of the posterchildren of palaeontology, such as Allosaurus, Velociraptor, and Tyrannosaurus rex. However, theropods also include a diverse menagerie of herbivores and fliers; including the sparrows and pigeons that you see every day.

Realising that modern birds are descended from the same branch of the tree of life as Tyrannosaurus rex took over a century of palaeontological research and many spectacular fossil discoveries. Join the University of Alberta’s top palaeontologists as they explore the evolution and ecology of the kings of the dinosaur world, and the only dinosaurs that beat extinction.

Register through Coursera to begin!


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Interactive Learning Objects (ILO)